FROM THE ARCHIVE
BIA: Grazing payments still held up
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2002

The Bureau of Indian Affairs confirmed on Thursday that National Congress of American Indians President Tex Hall and other members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation haven't received their grazing checks even though the computer system that processes the funds has been up and running for nearly a month.

BIA spokesperson Nedra Darling said there have been delays in getting the funds to tribal members on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. "The ones for [Hall] have not been sent out and some others did not receive them as well," she said.

Darling said the Fort Berthold agency has a "backlog" which has prevented the Integrated Records Management System (IRMS) from sending the money to the Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders. But she insisted checks have been mailed to some tribal members who are serviced by the agency.

However, she had no figures on the dollar amounts that the agency has processed.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said yesterday he was "dumbfounded" that Hall and his fellow members haven't received any money since November. "I had the impression that grazing checks had gone out," he said.

Lamberth on Wednesday expressed disappointment that the Department of Interior has moved slowly on the payment issue. Oil and gas royalties have still yet to be paid even though Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles promised last week they would be calculated manually.

Darling said those funds haven't been finished but disputed a National Native News report which attributed her as saying Congress needed to authorize disbursement.

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://130.94.214.68/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

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